About     FAQ     Contact      Advertise With Us      Press   

Wine Trail Traveler 2014 Year in Review

Terry lifts the cover of the qvevri in Georgia.

Terry lifts the cover of the qvevri in Georgia.

Wine Trail Traveler’s 2014 was a very busy year, even though we visited fewer wineries than other years. Our winter was spent preparing for the March publication of our third book, Georgia, Sakartvelo: the Birthplace of Wine. The book was published in March, just in time for us to take copies to Georgia for the International Wine Tourism Conference in late March. During the early April FAM trip in Georgia, Kathy and I opened a qvevri that we filled with grapes in September of 2013. The wine was enjoyed by the members of the media FAM trip to Georgia. We brought a qvevri home to the United States and followed the protocol to prepare it for making a qvevri wine. Qvevri winemaking is the only winemaking technique that is on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

We made another trip to Europe in October, this time to Spain. We spent a few days in Barcelona and then visited wineries in Montsant & Priorat and the Penedés. We were once again, part of a media group visiting Cava producers in the Penedés. We have a new appreciation for cavas and have been promoting them to our friends and family.

Trips within the United States included two trips to sunny California. Our June trip was to the Central Coast, specifically Santa Barbara County. While visiting wineries in the different Santa Barbara AVAs I was taking a wine certification course, the CWAS, California Wine Appellation Specialist. Taking the course and traveling to the different appellations at the same time made the AVAs come to life and one begins to notice the difference in wines produced from the different areas.

Steven Spurrier led our tasting of 48 Santa Barbara County wines.

Steven Spurrier led our tasting of 48 Santa Barbara County wines.

Another lifetime experience is meeting some of the important personalities in the wine industry. While in Santa Barbara, we were asked to sit on a panel to taste and judge over forty Santa Barbara wines. Leading the panel was famed Judgement of Paris personality, Steven Spurrier. Mr. Spurrier was every bit a gentleman. When he agreed with the panel, we heard him exclaim, “brilliant.” When Mr. Spurrier disagreed with the panel we heard a “majority rules,”  and we believed that he was pleased with our selection.

We were away from home for our 42nd wedding anniversary, but had a lovely weekend with Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo at their Messina Hof Winery and Resort in Bryan, Texas. We were joined with some of our IWINETC alumni, Tom Plant, Melba Allen and Allison Markin. It was a wonderful visit even though it was rather warm in Texas.

Stagecoach Vineyards, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley

Stagecoach Vineyards, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley

We made another trip to California in September, a whirlwind trip that included visiting wineries in Lodi, Clarksburg, Lake County and Napa. One of the vineyards visited was Stagecoach Vineyards in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley.  As we sat out in the vineyard tasting Krupp Brother’s wines, we had an amazing realization that our grapes we use to make wine at a teaching winery in Maryland, came from this area of Napa Valley. We also discovered that although most years Napa Valley fruit is fantastic, 2014 may be one of the best vintages.

Our main winemaking experience was cut in half since our grapes arrived from Napa Valley while we were in Spain. We did return in time to press the grapes and rack to our barrel. This year we changed from making a straight Cabernet Sauvignon to a Bordeaux-like blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Rather than dump all the pomace on the compost pile, we took some home and made a second run wine. The grapes were fantastic and the second run wine should also be good. Our winemaking for the year finished with fermenting muscat grapes in our buried qvevri, then sealing the qvevri for winter. We are anxious to see how the wine will turn out in March of 2015.

These are just some of the highlights of 2014. We wonder what 2015 will bring.


Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

info@winetrailtraveler.com            Sitemap                      Privacy Policy

Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2006-2013